CHRIS EUBANK JR sees nothing to fear as he looks ahead to potential domestic showdowns with George Groves and Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series. Eubank Jr is puzzled why some observers have made Smith the super-middleweight tournament favourite, and believes Groves might be a fighter in decline.
This weekend Groves heads off into battle with Jamie Cox, one week after Eubank Jr secured a date with the winner in the World Boxing Super Series semi-finals by hammering Avni Yildirim in impressive style.
Before that three-round triumph in Stuttgart [WATCH VIDEO ABOVE], 29-year-old Groves suggested that Eubank might come unstuck against Yildirim.
“George Groves to me is not really the most interesting person to listen to. I don’t concern myself with what other fighters say about me and I never have,” Eubank Jr said before admitting, “Groves is the man to beat in this tournament [because] he has that belt, he as the name and he has the big fights under his belt.”
Those big fights include a points reverse to Badou Jack and two stoppage losses to Carl Froch. Eubank Jr, 28, believes that second defeat to Froch, which ended via brutal one-punch stoppage, has taken something out of Groves.
“The Froch knockout definitely took something out of him, for sure,” Eubank explained.
“With those kind of bad knockouts it can effect a fighter mentally. They start to have doubts and worries and whatever else but I’m not really focusing on that, I’m not counting on that. He’s coming into this tournament expecting to win, and this is his chance to solidify his legacy and make up for those losses against Froch.
“So I’m preparing myself for the best George Groves we’ve ever seen.”
For Groves-Eubank Jr to happen, the WBA champion must defeat 31-year-old Cox at Wembley Arena. Eubank will be watching closely.
“Jamie Cox is not a fighter I’m particularly interested in,” Eubank Jr continued. “Obviously, if he was to go in there and batter George that might change but for right now, it’s George Groves I’m interested in. We have the past history and it’s a fight that’s been building and building. I want him to come through so we can give the fans the fight they’ve been asking for for so long.”
Looking further ahead, and presuming the WBSS tournament continues as planned, Groves or Eubank Jr – or Cox, of course – could meet unbeaten 27-year-old Callum Smith in the final early in 2018. Smith came through his quarter-final in September via gruelling 12-rounder with a tougher than expected Erik Skoglund.
“I was not impressed, he did what he had to do to win,” Eubank Jr observed about Smith’s unanimous decision success. “He got through the fight, fairly close.”
“I did not see anything that made me think ‘I have to watch out for this guy’.
“It makes me laugh when people have him favourite to win, they must not know boxing. I don’t know who is thinking that.
“I am happy to be the underdog as it is less pressure and more excitement when I do win, I know I can do it. It is all for me to prove.”